The hottest week

If my previous post was more a weather update, this one won’t be…

I can definitely affirm that the week ending today has been one of the heaviest one so far…it was the “hottest” I have ever had, in terms of workload.
Reading through the pages I am sure it has filtered out that we look at islets biology from a 360 degrees approach and, yes, I am sure you had already been able to understand that we do work on animal models too. Moreover we are also lucky to be part of a research program that allows us to use human biological samples donated for research. Of course there are strict regulation on the usage of these samples and everything is done under a very tight ethical permission…so no worries, we are not any crazy psychos!

Well, in terms of experiments, this week has been very packed (or stressing if you prefer) because we have had the combination of already planned mouse experiments with an unexpected arrival of human samples: to cut a long story short the last non-work thing I can recall was on june 27th…and I realised only now it is July 4th! (ah, by the way, happy Independence Day to any American reader and happy belated Canada Day to those who are Canadians!). So if I have learned on my own skin that science is nothing easy, I have now learnt that the scientific agenda might become unpredictable as well and that it is mandatory to be able to juggle around a little bit to accommodate with all our eagerness of knowledge! (or if you prefer a more chemical terminology, we all need to be able to “buffer” the unpredictable!)

But please, don’t read this as a down-side feature: it really means I have had a great acceleration on my project(s)…more results to come in the very near future, sooner than expected!

PS: the post had remained in the “draft” folder for something like a month before I realised it wasn’t published…apparently I am still fighting with the blog platform!

Because I am going to a (fancy?!?) conference!

Hi there…

Since my last post, I have gone through a real “work storm” and it is definitely time to catch up. But before moving into a more scientific and serious field, I am sure you have already understood from the title that there’s something quite important in the air.

Well, well, well… I have submitted some piece of work to the next EASD conference in Stockholm and guess what?! I was invited to give an oral talk..Hurray!!!

…Oh no no no,no please, don’t get me wrong: it is not my intention to show off!

I just wanted to share my happiness with you guys, as this time “I am going to a fancy conference!”…does it mean I want to be a PI? too early to say!

Does it mean it is quite a challenge?! It is…defo!


“Because I want to go to fancy conferences!”

Ok ok…from my previous post someone might think that working in Science is all pain and no gain.

It is not like that, at all!

Nevertheless, it is true that we spend most of our time struggling to find how something works, to embrace with new concepts and try to figure how these fit with what we have previously learnt.

And it is somehow true that in some circumstances what makes a Researcher going is just looking forward for THAT DAY in which the numbers (as a result of an experiment) pile in a perfect, rationale, scientifically strong meaning! That’s real Joy!
[Priceless…while for all the other aspects, there’s a grant code!]

Indeed, speaking about a little bit of science-related fun, last month I attended a course on “how to become a Principal Investigator”.

The first question we were asked was “why would you like to be a PI?”

Moment of silence: what do we answer now?! How do we impress the others and make ourselves looking smart and not too nerdy?!

Well, with the facilitator’s big surprise (and most of the audience, indeed), someone answered in a very genuine manner: “because I want to go to fancy conferences!”

Well, we might agree or not on how/why we actually go to conferences and with what spirit, but this answer has reminded me that I have not told you anything so far about the conferences I have been attending.

Although I have been holding this position for little more than a year, and my background was almost everything but diabetes, I have had the opportunity to attend two important meetings so far: the EASD 2014 in Vienna and the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2015 in London.

In both cases I had the chance to challenge myself as I was selected for short oral communications. The talks I have given were not directly related to the current project, but they have represented my first opportunity to present my piece of work to a diabetes-oriented audience…and guess what? I also ended up bringing home an award! :)

But the nice thing of conferences does not reside in standing in front of an audience celebrating our results (and hoping not to be grilled by the Giants of the field…which believe me, is everything but funny). The real pleasure is hidden in the hours after the conferences, where you engage with other fellows that share your same impressions, ideas, frustration and (eventually) joys…even if they belong to another lab in another city, another country and, why not, another side of the world.

No matter if you are a full professor, a young researcher, a post-doc, a PhD or just a master student: good memories belong to the post-conference chills!
It might be a pint, a dinner, a visit to a museum, a run for fund-raising, an event with restricted access where you sneaked in somehow…

and, believe me or not…this is where the best piece of collaborative works among members of spatially far institutions, becomes reality!

DUK photo cropped20140919_105153